A smallish lake surrounded by green plants and golden brown hills, bright blue sky above it, and a large overflow drain in front of it off to the right.

The flood control basin has been partly restored for stormwater infiltration and as habitat for native plants and migrating waterfowl, bounded by a city park on one side, baseball fields on the other, and hills all around. The city is currently expanding the basin while the water level is low.

The same lake and drain, but the plants are mostly brown and yellow, the water's a lot lower and smaller, and construction equipment is moving dirt around.

The outside of the former Great Maple restaurant at Del Amo Fashion Center. It opened with the new upscale wing of the mall, and closed suddenly about a year later. (Like, people showed up to work and the door was locked.) Nothing’s moved in since then, and of course nothing’s likely to move in for a while now.

The outside of a building with several tall screens of square patterns in front of it.

The facade reminds me a little of the facade on the old medical building that used to stand near the corner. It was demolished for the parking lot that came along with the mall expansion. And I have to wonder if someone was actually trying to keep a little bit of the old building’s character alive?

A two-story building with tiles and several vertical screens with square-and-diagonal patterns and an awning.

I went hiking at the marsh preserve this weekend and was astonished at just how many different types of birds I saw. Five species of ducks alone (it is winter, after all) — not just the more common mallards, but shovelers, teals, wigeons, and one I hadn’t heard of before called redheads (for obvious reasons). The usual coots, egrets and Canada geese. Red-winged blackbirds, sparrows, a heron that was standing so still I started to wonder if it was a statue, and a very patient hawk that sat in a tree completely ignoring me and my camera until I was finished and it flew off to another tree.

I also heard frogs all over the place, but couldn’t actually see any of them. I asked about them at the visitor center and apparently the pacific tree frog can be very small, about the size of a quarter, but they can still be very loud when singing in a chorus. Next time I’m there, if the frogs are still in season, I need to at least record the audio.

Several local cities will send out SMS notices for emergencies and “avoid this area due to collision/police activity/etc.” All weekend they kept sending reports about an intersection being closed due to a “traffic collision” Saturday morning. One alert mentioned a vehicle had crashed into a building.

What all of the alerts failed to mention, and Katie discovered as she walked past it today, is that it set the building on fire and completely gutted it!

I mean, maybe mention “traffic collision and out of control structure fire” next time. Or “closed for fire investigation” for the second day. I mean, talk about burying the lede!

According to the news, it happened around midnight Friday night/Saturday morning. The driver lost control and crashed into the bank. Police nearby heard the crash and pulled both the driver and passenger from the car before it caught fire, and they only sustained minor injuries.

Update: The site sat empty for most of 2020 (*ahem* covid), but by 2021 they had started construction on a new building completed in 2022. I’m still amazed that it happened at a time of day and in a way that no one was seriously hurt or killed.